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How to Unblock a Downpipe

There is a possibility that your downpipe is blocked.  One major sign that this is the case is that the gutter is overflowing, but there are no signs of blockage elsewhere.  This article provides you with a guide to several methods of unblocking a downpipe.

Blocked at the Top

Use a ladder to look down inside the pipe.  You might be able to see the blockage, and then using a piece of wire, you may be able to hook it out.  You should place a length of wood over the drain at the bottom of the pipe.  This will prevent any loosened material from falling down the pipe and then blocking the drain.

Blocked in the Middle

This type of blockage is particularly problematic, especially if the pipe is swan-necked.  However, you can hire or buy flexible drain cleaning rods.  Alternatively, you can take the pipe apart.  Before dismantling the pipe, tap the pipe at different intervals to work out where the blockage is.  When dismantling the downpipe, begin at the bottom.  Remove the two screws holding the lowest pipe clip to the wall.  Remove the loose section and remove the blockage.  You may need to remove more than one section if you do not find the blockage immediately.

Preventing Blockages

The best preventative is to buy wire mesh or plastic caps to fit at the top of the downpipe.  These allow water through, but trap leaves and dirt.  You can then remove the leaves and dirt from the wire mesh.

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